There are a few ways to tell when someone is not from Mississippi. If they don’t speak with a drawl, if they are in too much of a hurry, or when presented with a Mason jar of comeback sauce, they look at you and ask, “What is it?” That last one is a dead giveaway.
Very few condiments are as versatile as comeback sauce. Mississippi-native, chef and food writer Robert St. John refers to the spicy sauce with an orange-pink hue as “ . . .the Queen Mother of all Mississippi condiments.” A combination of Thousand Island dressing and remoulade sauce, comeback sauce was named because it’s so good that you’ll “come back” for more. It’s more than just a way to dress up a bowl of salad greens – comeback sauce is slathered over po’ boy sandwiches, used as a dip for French fries, or spread over saltines for an afternoon snack.
Other Southern towns may try to lay their claim as being “The home of . . .” But the city of Jackson is the only town that can lay claim to the origins of comeback sauce. The exact details of how it got its start are a little sketchy, but most local food historians agree that comeback sauce originated in the 1920’s or 1930’s at The Rotisserie, Jackson’s first Greek restaurant. It began as the restaurant’s house salad dressing and quickly spread to other restaurants across the state.
I don’t remember the exact moment I first had comeback sauce, but I do recall I was introduced to it almost ten years ago when The Husband and I were dating. For every family gathering, someone is assigned to bring homemade comeback sauce. You can bet just about every family has their own recipe. The basic ingredients are always the same, but some recipes include a dash of this or that to suit different tastes. This is the family recipe passed down to me from my mother-in-law.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- Combine all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.